The invitation-only “Families Matter” Symposium was held last Thursday and Friday, June 24 and 25, at the University of Baltimore. Co-sponsored by CFCC and the American Bar Association Section of Family Law, the symposium promises to be a powerful catalyst for change. It was exhiliarating to participate in the exchange of groundbreaking ideas that emerge when you put together some of the leading professionals from a range disciplines to discuss how to improve the experience of children and families in the family justice system. More exciting, however, is the fact that this group of high-powered experts is committed to move from theory to action by implementing many of their recommendations for changing the family law system.
|A small group led by CFCC Senior Fellow Gloria Danziger
discusses the availability and use of services for family
court litigants. (Photo by Chris Hart)
In between these powerful speeches, participants worked in small, interdisciplinary groups, identifying some of the most urgent problems facing the family justice system, analyzing solutions to those problems, and creating action steps for implementation. In each small group there were some of the country’s top family lawyers, judges, mental health professionals, accountants, academics, and domestic violence experts, each offering his/her perspective on how the current family justice system hurts children and families and what each discipline can offer to alleviate the harm. After each small-group session, participants gathered in a plenary to report on progress and to bounce ideas off of the larger collection of over 60 participants.